High School Football

The only thing standing between Ferndale and 3A state quarterfinals? Top-ranked O’Dea

Ferndale’s Ben Broselle (20) follows a block from teammate Geirean Hatchett on Saturday, Nov. 5, in a 3A quad-district game against Capital.
Ferndale’s Ben Broselle (20) follows a block from teammate Geirean Hatchett on Saturday, Nov. 5, in a 3A quad-district game against Capital. eabell@bhamherald.com

Ferndale at O’Dea

The fifth-ranked Ferndale football team will take on top-ranked O’Dea in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs Friday. The Golden Eagles are making their first trip to state since 2012 and are seeking their first state win since 2008.

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Memorial Stadium, Seattle

1111 FOOT Ferndale (2)

Scouting the Golden Eagles

Coach: Jamie Plenkovich (13th season, 16th overall, 134-41)

District: Northwest (No. 4 seed)

Previous state appearances: 20 (last in 2012)

State record: 23-19

State titles: 1 (2005)

Golden Eagles update: Fifth-ranked Ferndale got past the quad-district playoffs for the first time since 2012 with a 35-7 victory over Capital Saturday. Now the Golden Eagles seek their first state playoff victory since a 42-3 first-round win over West Seattle in 2008. Ben Broselle led the way last week, rushing for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. He now has 1,112 yards and 17 TDs this year. Cole Semu also surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau (1,038 yards, 10 TDs) with his 170-yard, two-TD performance last week. Broselle and Semu also accounted for all 71 receiving yards for Ferndale last week. The Ferndale defense was simply brilliant against Capital, limiting the Cougars to 2.1 yards per carry, eight first downs and 148 total yards.

Player to watch: Lineman Winterhawk Leighton had a big game against Capital, living in the Cougars’ backfield and disrupting a number of plays. No doubt the challenge gets much tougher this week against O’Dea, but if he and his defensive mates can bring the same intensity and physicality they showed last week, Ferndale has a shot.

Key to the game: Against a highly-ranked opponent, the key remains the same as it was for Ferndale when it faced Squalicum Oct. 22: don’t give your opponent any extra opportunities. The Golden Eagles need to limit the number of mistakes they make and capitalize on any opportunities that are presented to them to put themselves in position to pull the upset and move forward to the quarterfinals.

Scouting the Fighting Irish

Coach: Monte Kohler (31st season, 297-50)

District: Sea-King (No. 1 seed)

Previous state appearances: 31 (last in 2014)

State record: 42-28

State titles: Three (1991, ’94, ’95)

Fighting Irish update: Top-ranked O’Dea earned its trip to state with a dominant 57-20 victory over Snohomish in the quad-district playoffs Saturday. Jamyn Patu led the Fighting Irish with 140 yards and was one of six O’Dea runners to score at least a touchdown in the game. Hunter Franco scored two and rushed for 59 yards, while Mark Tafia gained 93 yards and scored a TD on just three carries. As those statistics would indicate, the Fighting Irish have plenty of options to carry the ball – six backs have more than 300 yards this season, and all of them are averaging at least 8 yards per carry. Patu leads the way with 850 yards and seven TDs on 104 carries, while Franco has 638 yards and 10 TDs on 71 attempts. Quarterback Warren King hasn’t been asked to throw the ball a whole lot, as he has 411 yards and three TDs the season.

Player to watch: As impressive as O’Dea is on offense, it’s even more intimidating on defense. Middle linebacker Tony Flor leads the way with 90 tackles and has four sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles. If he and the rest rest of the O’Dea defense can quiet Ferndale’s talented backs, it could make for a long night.

Key to the game: Like Ferndale, O’Dea has experience facing highly ranked opponents this season. A week before the Golden Eagles faced Squalicum in a top-four showdown, the Fighting Irish beat Eastside Catholic 20-17 Oct. 14 in a classic matchup of the top two teams in Class 3A. If O’Dea plays like it did in that game, it could be the one moving on.

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